Saturday, November 17, 2012

The Surly Ogre: On the Trail

I finally got around to putting disc brakes on my Surly Ogre so I can run 29er mountain bike wheels/tires in addition to my 700c wheels.  The original set up was geared for commuting and I ran 700x45c tires which fit great and had plenty of clearance with the front derailleur.  This would also be true for single speed setup if you are into that kind of thing (I have decided I am not). 

I have been wanting to take the Olive Drab Roller for a spin in the woods so I borrowed the Avid BB7 disk brakes and Salsa Semi 29er wheels from the El Mar.  Adding these wheels with the larger tires required me to install Surly Monkey Nuts (included with the the frame) to get the additional spacing required for the tire to clear the front derailleur.  This meant that I had to get a new chain; I should have set it up with the Monkey Nuts in the first place as it would have made no real difference in performance and saved me $25 last week.  I am also considering dumping the 48 tooth chain ring if it gets in the way.

Live and learn I suppose.

Winston and I took it for ride and I was extremely pleased.  Again, it is based on the Karate Monkey and it is a tried and true frame design which I had considered buying when I was ultimately seduced by the beautiful El Mariachi.  I am not a professional bike review guy so I am not going to use fancy words "spry" or "nimble" or "fast" to describe how it handled, mainly because I am not so therefore the bike will never be.   I will say that I love the feel of a rigid steel bike and with the Jeff Jones Loop Bar, it made short order of climbs and technical spots on the trail.

I have some Maxxis 2.10 CrossMark tires on it now, but I am going to test the Surly "Fatties Fit Fine" with some out of production WTB Weirwolf tires that measure in at 2.55 (I don't know if that is actual or exaggerated as tires often are).  I love those tires, the came on the El Mar but there wasn't a lot of clearance in muddy situations.  I can run them with tubes at 20 psi and not flat.

I am pleased with the purchase, it served me well riding 500 miles across the state of Iowa with 700x32c Continental GatorSkins and it will serve me well on the trails.  As for reducing my bike fleet by one, I think I have a new plan for the El Mariachi to keep it fresh and relevant.  More on that later.


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